Deserving to Suffer

Abstract

I argue that the blameworthy deserve to suffer in that they deserve to feel guilty and their feeling guilty necessitates their suffering the unpleasant experience of appreciating their culpability for their wrongdoing. I argue that the blameworthy deserve to feel guilty, because, as a matter of justice, the blameworthy owe it to those whom they’ve culpably wronged (a) to hold themselves accountable, (b) to fully appreciate their culpability and the moral significance of their wrongdoing, and (c) to have and to show the proper regard for those whom they’ve wronged. And, as I argue, they must feel guilty in order to satisfy a-c. I also explain why, in thinking about whether the blameworthy deserve to feel guilty, the relevant comparison is between the world in which the blameworthy feel guilty and the world in which the non-blameworthy feel guilt and not, as many in the literature have supposed, between the world in which the blameworthy feel guilty and the world in which they don't feel guilty.

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Douglas W. Portmore
Arizona State University

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References found in this work

Conversation and Responsibility.Michael McKenna - 2011 - , US: Oxford University Press USA.
Wrongdoing and the Moral Emotions.Derk Pereboom - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Blameworthiness as Deserved Guilt.Andreas Brekke Carlsson - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (1):89-115.

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